“I Am Bane” Review

By Andrew Kiess

Tom King is a brave man. Yes, he’s served America as a counterterrorism CIA operative, but his most recent challenge in life has been filling the role once held by the great Scott Snyder writing Batman. Snyder’s run as the lead writer on Batman lasted the entire fiver year lifespan of DC Comics’ New 52 line, and was its bestseller, as well as one of the most critically acclaimed books of the line. But, Snyder left shortly after the Bloom arc, and when DC was looking to relaunch the line, Snyder was moved to All-Star Batman, and King was asked to step up to the plate.

Spoilers for Batman #1-15 to follow.

King’s run debuted with I Am Gotham. This story, found in issues 1-6, featured the mysterious appearance of two super-powered beings called Gotham and Gotham Girl, who were being manipulated by the Psycho Pirate. In the sequel arc, I Am Suicide (issues 9-14), Psycho Pirate is being protected in Bane’s fortress, and Batman recruits a Suicide Squad from Amanda Waller in order to extract the Pirate so that he can cure Gotham Girl. The plan is successful, which obviously does not sit well with Bane.

batman-11-coming-november-16-from-writer-tom-kingIf I’m being honest, I have struggled to get into this new run on Batman. David Finch’s art has been great, and Tom King is a great writer, but it has felt like Batman has taken a backseat to the characters around him throughout the entire Rebirth line. And as great as Rebirth has been for most of DC’s characters, I have felt like Batman has not benefitted from Rebirth. That was until I read I Am Bane.

Bane is on his way to Gotham to exact revenge for Batman infiltrating his sovereign territory, and Bruce Wayne is preparing for war in a way that only Bruce could—by sending all of his soldiers away from the battlefield. Bruce warns Dick Grayson/Nightwing, Duke Thomas/Lark, Damian Wayne/Robin, and Jason Todd/Red Hood to stay out of Gotham until Bane is dealt with. But, his warnings fall on deaf ears for the Robins, and Bruce finds them hanging, barely alive, in the Batcave with the words “I Am Bane” spray painted across their chests. Bruce and Alfred must get Gotham Girl and the Psycho Pirate out of Bane’s path of destruction, and so they barricade themselves deep within Arkham while Bane’s warpath leads him through all of the inmates Batman has put there over the years.

Three issues into this run, I finally understood what King was doing. It’s no coincidence that the main three arcs of King’s run so far have been titled with the words “I Am…”. He was re-forging Batman’s identity as Bruce. Or Bruce’s identity as Batman. Either way, the end of the New 52 saw many changes for Bruce Wayne, not the least of which included being raised from the dead (kind of) and becoming the god of knowledge (really.) Despite all the good that happened for the character during the New 52, it didn’t leave the character with very many directions to go. Is Batman Gotham, or are there other heroes better suited for that task? Is Batman suicide, willing to sacrifice himself for the cause? Or is Batman like Bane, steeped in tragedy and loss? In the last half of I Am Bane, something beautiful happens with the character that I think that if you haven’t been paying attention, you might miss.

Batman is taken out of the tragedy that inspired him, while Bane is haunted by his own tragic past that holds him back. While the death of Bruce’s parents may have started his quest to rid Gotham of crime, it is now his own heroic nature that keeps him going. He is pulled out of the muck of being a crusader for justice, fighting an unwinnable war—he’s a man, who sees that being Batman and doing Batman things, saving Gotham Girl, stopping Bane, and doing these things with every drop of sweat and blood he can give, as the right thing to do. And because being Batman is the right thing to do, he is going to do it. This is Tom King’s Batman. And, even though I’m late to the party, I’m a fan

 

Shanlian On Batman Episode 87

Justin, Kyle, and Tom are bringing you a shorty this week. The guys touch base to talk about some of the news/rumors floating around the dc universe, comic book news, anticipations for the upcoming Wonder Woman and Justice League films, and talk a little bit of business and ways that you, yes YOU!, could help. Enjoy this short and sweet episode of your favorite Batman Podcast, Shanlian On Batman!

Shanlian On Batman Episode 85 Wsg Jason Inman

The boys have a guest on the show for this episode. Jason Inman, one of the hosts of DC All Access! Jason has had a pretty awesome career as a YouTuber and Justin, Kyle, and Tom ask him all about it from beginning to current including a fancast session and talks about his new comic book! Hope you enjoy episode 85 of Shanlian on Batman!

OP ED: Why Matt Reeves Deserves Creative Control over ‘The Batman’

Matt-Reeves-The-Batman

 

By

John McKee

For a while, it looked like Matt Reeves just might not direct our next Batman film. News spread like wildfire that he had backed down and wouldn’t take the project, despite reaching “final talks” just weeks before. Per Birth. Movies. Death. Matt Reeves had “finally seen Batman v Superman and run away while he still could.”

Interestingly enough, Reeves signed on about a week and a half later to direct The Batman. Perhaps he had seen Batman v Superman and decided to add his name to the incredibly talented DC Universe. But what kept him from signing on in the first place? Money is an unlikely answer; Warner Bothers knows how much they have to shovel out for Batman films. The most obvious issue was creative control.

Seth Graham-Smith, Michele MacLauren, Rick Famuyiwa, David Ayer. All names of directors in the DC Universe who either left due to “creative differences” or in the case of Ayer, stayed on only to witness his film carved up and rehashed by test audiences and studio interference. Zack Snyder was demoted a tad on Justice League and Ben Affleck promoted as a way to respond to Batman v Superman’s reviews (ironically brought about mostly by the studio’s interference—we got the 2.5 hour slap job instead of the masterpiece Snyder originally had in mind now called the Ultimate Edition). So Warner Bros., the studio with a history of letting directors do their thing, has been unafraid of late to say “no” to a director.

Which is why Matt Reeves must be given full creative control over The Batman (and probably has) in order to make the film as great as possible. Ben Affleck wanted less to shoulder when he stepped down from The Batman. If WB/DC wants Affleck to make a Batman trilogy then it all rests on The Batman’s success. There is no indication (as Affleck said) that he will leave the role prematurely—there are huge loose ends to tie up, such as the Knightmare sequences in Batman v Superman. There is so much to explore with this character. So in order to keep Reeves on and make the film great, the studio needs to do what they did before—hand it over and TRUST the director. Tim Burton in 1980s. Christopher Nolan in early 2000s. Matt Reeves 2010s.

Great Batman films come from a healthy director-actor relationship. Affleck has gone on to say the director is the “artist” who makes Batman look right on set and in post: Affleck and Terrio write the comics and the director draws them to life. Matt Reeves has a history with the Apes franchise of not only rescuing it last minute, but intuitively realizing which character to focus the films on. With that kind of eye for filmmaking and characterization, Reeves can easily get The Batman off the ground and possibly help top The Dark Knight as the most widely acclaimed Batman film of all time. All that needs to happen is Warner Bros. taking a step back. They have done their job to this point by signing Affleck, Reeves, Terrio, and the rest. They need to trust Matt Reeves to handle the film and give him carte blanche to do what he needs to do to make the very best Batman film that he can.

Shanlian On Batman Episode 84

The fellas are back with episode 84 and it is a classic SoB style trailer breakdown for the Latest Wonder Woman trailer. Hang out with Justin, Kyle, and Tom and hear what the trio thought of the new trailer. Some really interesting points of view and opinions were thrown around on this episode. So get yourself to the trailer so you can follow along with the guys and lets break down this trailer Shanlian on Batman style!

Shanlian On Batman Episode 81

The guys are back this week to talk some not-so-nice news about DC Films and the upcoming solo bat flick, The Batman. It’s no news at this point that Ben Affleck has stepped down as director of The Batman, but what does this mean for DC Films and upcoming Batman titles? Hang out with Justin, Kyle, and Tom and speculate the many possibilities that the future may hold for the DC film universe!

Shanlian On Batman Episode 79 wsg Jon Callan

This is an older episode from last year that Tom accidently lost and the most unfortunate part of that is that it happened to be the Shanlian on Batman interview with Jon Callan. Jon is a writer for the new animated series Justice League Action. The guys go through Jon’s entire career from how he got started to writing on Justice League Action. Kick back and enjoy another classic interview, Shanlian on Batman style.

Shanlian On Batman Episode 78

The end of the year is near! The fellas gather to exchange gifts and gab about 2016 and what it had to offer for us in the world of Batman. There is no description for this episode other than Everything. Justin Kyle, and Tom wrap up 2016 the right way, come talk about Batman with Shanlian on Batman. Happy New Year!!!

Shanlian On Batman Episode 77 wsg Sean Gerber

The Trinity is back and bringing you the latest DC news Shanlian On Batman Style! Making his second appearance on the show, Sean Gerber (Modern Myth Media/BatmanNews.com) is back after a year and he is talking with the boys about everything DC! Billy Dee Williams, Solo Batman, Lego Batman, Justice League, and Wonder Woman are just some of the topics on this shows agenda. Get ready and make some room in your brain for this info packed, Episode 77 of Shanlian Batman wsg Sean Gerber.

Follow the show on Twitter @ShanlianOnBat

Follow Justin @BATMANShanlian

Follow Kyle @LootingKyle

Follow Tom @BatmanBassSlap